NEW YORK — It’s a shame Kobe Bryant didn’t do what Derek Jeter did. Well in some ways, he did do just what Jeter did. He made the All-star team more than 12 times. He won 5 World Championships. Both Kobe and Jeter also made the Finals or World Series 7 different times in their respective sport. Both grew up with loving and supportive parents.
Both legendary and future Hall-of-Fame icons played 20 years for only one franchise. Both of the teams are arguably the most respected and most storied in their particular sport: The Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe and the New York Yankees with Jeter.
Both played for Hall-of-Fame coaches in Phil Jackson and Joe Torre. Both have movie star looks although Kobe is married with two daughters and Jeter is about to be married at the age of 40 plus. Both are unquestionably considered clutch players.
But that unfortunately is where most of their similarities end. Why? Well because unlike Kobe; Jeter did right by New York and the fan base.
Did Kobe do wrong by how he torched the Knicks whenever he played at the World’s Most Famous Arena in Madison Square Garden, no. That was in the spirit of competition. And when Kobe rang in his 61 points on February 2, 2009, that just cemented him with greatness personified in the hallowed halls of the Garden.
What Kobe didn’t do correctly, unlike Jeter, was announce his retirement before the season started. The schedule with the Lakers is such that they’re already done with the New York Knicks in New York. They’re done with the Brooklyn Nets at Barclay’s Center as well for that matter. No doubt had the Knicks and Nets known that Kobe was going out this year “officially,” they would have vetted him like a king. He deserved that much. With Jeter’s announcement, teams were more than prepared to give him the going out party that he so righteously deserved.
There was a good reason perhaps for that. For what made Kobe the great warrior he is ultimately became his undoing.
Kobe felt that because he basically had shorten seasons for the past few years, he’d be fresh for a full all out year and with that, perhaps he could squeeze out another year or so. But, as Charles Barkley is so famous for say, “father time is undefeated.”
The great ones all at some point have to call it, “a day.” It’s particularly hard however seeing a great one struggle to try to recapture their glory. On a resent game, a home game against the Indiana Pacers, Kobe was 4-20 from the field. On a game prior to that against the reigning Champions, Golden State Warriors, Kobe was dreadful in that also, shooting airballs and launching one shot that got stuck between the backboard and rim. That’s pretty hard to do, but Kobe was able to do it.
Well at least Kobe can look on bright side, he’s not yet a victim of a ‘double-nickel’ as he put 55 against his idol Michael Jordan while he was with the Washington Wizards. Talk about a going away present.
You can follow Jerald on Twitter @JerryHoove65